In this TED Talk, Olya Esipova—a passionate conservationist and Research Assistant and Educational Programs for WCN partner Saiga Conservation Alliance—talks about the importance of harnessing one’s imagination to stem the rapid decline of our planet’s environment and wildlife species. She paints an intricate picture of how deeply connected ecosystems are, and how even small actions can impact humans, plants, and animals alike. Olya challenges her audience to consider one species, one problem, and see what happens if that species disappears.
The species Olya wants us to think about is the saiga antelope—which Olya and the Saiga Conservation Alliance work to protect—an ancient creature that once roamed the Earth with woolly mammoths about 2 million years ago. Sadly, over the last 15 years, 95 percent of the saiga population has been lost, chiefly because of poaching (primarily for their horn) and an unforeseen bacterial disease that wiped out half the saiga population in 2015. Today, saiga antelopes continue to be one of the fastest declining animals on the planet.
Olya’s thought-provoking and hopeful presentation encourages us to use our imaginations to envision a different, more positive future. Through saiga antelopes, she shows us how the power of imagination is just the beginning of the solution.